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Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sweeping History Under The Red Carpet

Shinzo Abe recorded his most significant diplomatic victory ever by receiving an invitation to give a speech to a joint session of the US Congress (probably on April 29, following a stop at the White House on April 28), a honor never given to any Japanese leader. Not even to his war criminal of a grandfather Nobusuke Kishi, who didn't have the full audience in 1957. Not even the poor Junichiro Koizumi, who was denied the prestigious soapbox in 2006, just because he refused to stop visiting Yasukuni.

No such guarantees were required from a Prime Minister who not only advocates visits to the controversial shrine and refuses to denounce Imperial Japan abuses, but also wrote a letter of support to a ceremony honoring war criminals. 

It seems that all Abe had to do was to deliver yet another one of his trademark elusive and deceptive smokescreens.

The Washington Post published last Thursday an interview hyped as groundbreaking because Shinzo Abe said that among 'Comfort Women' were people 'victimized by human trafficking', and because he said that 'women’s human rights were violated', but if you read the full text (see below*), his Nippon Kaigi - friendly positions have not changed a bit:
  • First, regarding the key question 'are you a revisionist?', Abe doesn't answer, saying that only historians can judge.
  • Second, about the Murayama, Kono, or Koizumi statements: as usual, Abe never says that he personally agrees with them. He uses 'I' only to make clear that 'we' / 'Abe cabinet' 'upholds' them so far, and 'is not reviewing' them right now. What 'I' want, what 'I' / my future cabinets will do in the future? You know the answer, because I've already used similar wordings before trying to do something different afterwards. Unfortunately, the WaPo didn't ask the most important question regarding his own August 15 statement for the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, the one everybody's asking across the region: will he dump the key references to 'aggression' and 'colonization'? I can't see how such a hardcore revisionist could say unequivocally that the Empire of Japan was an aggressor. Abe renouncing his lifetime goal? Simply impossible.
Minutes of Abe Statement advisory panel confirm debate over 'aggression' mention - 20150325
  • Third, about Imperial Japan's sexual slavery system ('Comfort Women'), Abe's crocodile tears ('immeasurable pain and suffering beyond description, my heart aches') cannot hide the naked truth: he still refuses to name the culprits and to say that the Empire and its military were involved in the 'trafficking', and he still maintains that if there were violations, they were common to many wars (in his verbiose smokescreen lingua: "Hitherto in history, many wars have been waged. In this context, women’s human rights were violated"). That's the classic Nippon Kaigi's imposture: these women were willing prostitutes, if a few bad guys organized any traffic to recruit unwilling victims, they were local thugs (e.g. Korean, Chinese people selling their own), and Japanese authorities were never involved, and that's the kind of things that, alas, happen in every conflict.
You can trust Shinzo Abe on one thing: he has never changed his core positions and ambitions, and this interview only confirms how cunning he can be. 

You can trust him: he wants to make the most of this 2015 moments on stage at the US Congress and on August 15.

The US have not only their say, but the historic duty to prevent that. 
=> "The USA And Shinzo Abe: From Ostrich Policy To Complicity?"

How much #ABEIGNomics US Congress will swallow from Shinzo Abe an indicator of how far this negationist will go in Aug. 15 #AbeStatement - 20150321

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* See "David Ignatius’s full interview with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe".
David Igniatius:
"Is it accurate to say that you are a revisionist–that you would like to revise the picture of Japan so that it is, in your view, more accurate?"
Shinzo Abe:
"My opinion is that politicians should be humble in the face of history. And whenever history is a matter of debate, it should be left in the hands of historians and experts. First of all, I would like to state very clearly that the Abe cabinet upholds the position on the recognition of history of the previous administrations, in its entirety, including the Murayama Statement [apologizing in 1995 for the damage and suffering caused by Japan to its Asian neighbors] and the Koizumi Statement [in 2005, stating that Japan must never again take the path to war]. I have made this position very clearly, on many occasions, and we still uphold this position. Also we have made it very clear that the Abe cabinet is not reviewing the Kono Statement [in 1993, in which the Government of Japan extended its sincere apologies and remorse to all those who suffered as comfort women]
On the question of comfort women, when my thought goes to these people, who have been victimized by human trafficking and gone through immeasurable pain and suffering beyond description, my heart aches. And on this point, my thought has not changed at all from previous prime ministers. Hitherto in history, many wars have been waged. In this context, women’s human rights were violated. My hope is that the 21st century will be the first century where there will be no violation of human rights, and to that end, Japan would like to do our outmost."

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